Following World War I, France acquired a mandate over the northern portion of the former Ottoman Empire province of Syria. The French demarcated the region of Lebanon in 1920 and granted this area independence in 1943. Since independence the country has been marked by periods of political turmoil interspersed with prosperity built on its position as a regional center for finance and trade. The country's 1975-90 civil war that resulted in an estimated 120,000 fatalities, was followed by years of social and political instability. Sectarianism is a key element of Lebanese political life. Neighboring Syria has historically influenced Lebanon's foreign policy and internal policies, and its military occupied Lebanon from 1976 until 2005. The Lebanon-based Hizballah militia and Israel continued attacks and counterattacks against each other after Syria's withdrawal, and fought a brief war in 2006. Lebanon's borders with Syria and Israel remain unresolved.



Middle East, bordering the Mediterranean Sea, between Israel and Syria

Geographic coordinates

33 50 N, 35 50 E

Map references

Middle East


total: 10,400 sq km
land: 10,230 sq km
water: 170 sq km

Area - comparative

about one-third the size of Maryland

Land boundaries

total: 484 km
border countries (2): Israel 81 km, Syria 403 km


225 km

Maritime claims

territorial sea: 12 nm


Mediterranean; mild to cool, wet winters with hot, dry summers; the Lebanon Mountains experience heavy winter snows


narrow coastal plain; El Beqaa (Bekaa Valley) separates Lebanon and Anti-Lebanon Mountains


mean elevation: 1,250 m
elevation extremes: lowest point: Mediterranean Sea 0 m
highest point: Qornet es Saouda 3,088 m

Natural resources

limestone, iron ore, salt, water-surplus state in a water-deficit region, arable land

Land use

agricultural land: 63.3%
arable land 11.9%; permanent crops 12.3%; permanent pasture 39.1%
forest: 13.4%
other: 23.3% (2011 est.)

Irrigated land

1,040 sq km (2012)

Natural hazards

dust storms, sandstorms

Environment - current issues

deforestation; soil erosion; desertification; air pollution in Beirut from vehicular traffic and the burning of industrial wastes; pollution of coastal waters from raw sewage and oil spills

Environment - international agreements

party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Wetlands
signed, but not ratified: Environmental Modification, Marine Life Conservation

Geography - note

smallest country in continental Asia; Nahr el Litani is the only major river in Near East not crossing an international boundary; rugged terrain historically helped isolate, protect, and develop numerous factional groups based on religion, clan, and ethnicity

People and Society


6,237,738 (July 2016 est.)


noun: Lebanese (singular and plural)
adjective: Lebanese

Ethnic groups

Arab 95%, Armenian 4%, other 1%
note: many Christian Lebanese do not identify themselves as Arab but rather as descendants of the ancient Canaanites and prefer to be called Phoenicians


Arabic (official), French, English, Armenian


Muslim 54% (27% Sunni, 27% Shia), Christian 40.5% (includes 21% Maronite Catholic, 8% Greek Orthodox, 5% Greek Catholic, 6.5% other Christian), Druze 5.6%, very small numbers of Jews, Baha'is, Buddhists, Hindus, and Mormons
note: 18 religious sects recognized (2012 est.)

Age structure

0-14 years: 24.65% (male 786,842/female 750,449)
15-24 years: 16.73% (male 534,040/female 509,663)
25-54 years: 44.44% (male 1,401,857/female 1,370,462)
55-64 years: 7.54% (male 220,020/female 250,288)
65 years and over: 6.64% (male 181,627/female 232,490) (2016 est.)

Dependency ratios

total dependency ratio: 47.3%
youth dependency ratio: 35.4%
elderly dependency ratio: 12%
potential support ratio: 8.3% (2015 est.)

Median age

total: 29.9 years
male: 29.3 years
female: 30.5 years (2016 est.)

Population growth rate

0.85% (2016 est.)

Birth rate

14.4 births/1,000 population (2016 est.)

Death rate

4.9 deaths/1,000 population (2016 est.)

Net migration rate

-1.1 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2016 est.)

Population distribution

the majority of the people live on or near the Mediterranean coast, and of these most live in and around the capital, Beirut; favorable growing conditions in the Bekaa Valley, on the southeastern side of the Lebanon Mountains, have attracted farmers and thus the area exhibits a smaller population density


urban population: 87.8% of total population (2015)
rate of urbanization: 3.18% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)

Major urban areas - population

BEIRUT (capital) 2.226 million (2015)

Sex ratio

at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
0-14 years: 1.05 male(s)/female
15-24 years: 1.05 male(s)/female
25-54 years: 1.02 male(s)/female
55-64 years: 0.88 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.79 male(s)/female
total population: 1 male(s)/female (2016 est.)

Maternal mortality rate

15 deaths/100,000 live births (2015 est.)

Infant mortality rate

total: 7.6 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 8 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 7.1 deaths/1,000 live births (2016 est.)

Life expectancy at birth

total population: 77.6 years
male: 76.3 years
female: 78.9 years (2016 est.)

Total fertility rate

1.73 children born/woman (2016 est.)

Health expenditures

6.4% of GDP (2014)

Physicians density

3.2 physicians/1,000 population (2011)

Hospital bed density

3.5 beds/1,000 population (2012)

Drinking water source

urban: 99% of population
rural: 99% of population
total: 99% of population
urban: 1% of population
rural: 1% of population
total: 1% of population (2015 est.)

Sanitation facility access

urban: 80.7% of population
rural: 80.7% of population
total: 80.7% of population
urban: 19.3% of population
rural: 19.3% of population
total: 19.3% of population (2015 est.)

HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate

0.06% (2015 est.)

HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS

2,400 (2015 est.)

HIV/AIDS - deaths

100 (2015 est.)

Obesity - adult prevalence rate

30.8% (2014)

Education expenditures

2.6% of GDP (2013)


definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 93.9%
male: 96%
female: 91.8% (2015 est.)

School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education)

total: 12 years
male: 12 years
female: 12 years (2013)

Unemployment, youth ages 15-24

total: 22.1%
male: 22.3%
female: 21.5% (2007 est.)


Country name

conventional long form: Lebanese Republic
conventional short form: Lebanon
local long form: Al Jumhuriyah al Lubnaniyah
local short form: Lubnan
former: Greater Lebanon
etymology: derives from the Semitic root "lbn" meaning "white" and refers to snow-capped Mount Lebanon

Government type

parliamentary republic


name: Beirut
geographic coordinates: 33 52 N, 35 30 E
time difference: UTC+2 (7 hours ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)
daylight saving time: +1hr, begins last Sunday in March; ends last Sunday in October

Administrative divisions

8 governorates (mohafazat, singular - mohafazah); Aakkar, Baalbek-Hermel, Beqaa, Beyrouth (Beirut), Liban-Nord (North Lebanon), Liban-Sud (South Lebanon), Mont-Liban (Mount Lebanon), Nabatiye


22 November 1943 (from League of Nations mandate under French administration)

National holiday

Independence Day, 22 November (1943)


drafted 15 May 1926, adopted 23 May 1926; amended several times, last in 2004 (2016)

Legal system

mixed legal system of civil law based on the French civil code, Ottoman legal tradition, and religious laws covering personal status, marriage, divorce, and other family relations of the Jewish, Islamic, and Christian communities

International law organization participation

has not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; non-party state to the ICCt


citizenship by birth: no
citizenship by descent only: the father must be a citizen of Lebanon
dual citizenship recognized: yes
residency requirement for naturalization: unknown


21 years of age; compulsory for all males; authorized for women at age 21 with elementary education; excludes military personnel

Executive branch

chief of state: President Michel AWN (since 31 October 2016)
head of government: Prime Minister Saad al-HARIRI (since 18 December 2016); Deputy Prime Minister Ghassan HASBANI (since 18 December 2016)
cabinet: Cabinet chosen by the prime minister in consultation with the president and National Assembly
elections/appointments: president indirectly elected by the National Assembly with two-thirds majority vote in the first round and if needed absolute majority vote in a second round for a 6-year term (eligible for non-consecutive terms); (next to be held in 2022); prime minister and deputy prime minister appointed by the president in consultation with the National Assembly
election results: Michel AWN elected president; National Assembly vote in second round - Michel AWN (FPM) 83; note - in the initial election held on 23 April 2014, no candidate received the required two-thirds vote, and subsequent attempts failed because the National Assembly lacked a quorum to hold a vote; the president was elected in the 46th attempt on 31 October 2016

Legislative branch

description: unicameral National Assembly or Majlis al-Nuwab in Arabic or Assemblee Nationale in French (128 seats; members directly elected in multi-seat constituencies by majority vote; members serve 4-year terms); note - seats are apportioned among the Christian and Muslim denominations
note: Lebanon’s Constitution states the National Assembly cannot conduct regular business until it elects a president when the position is vacant
elections: last held on 7 June 2009 (next to be held in May 2017)
election results: percent of vote by coalition - March 8 Coalition 54.7%, March 14 Coalition 45.3%; seats by coalition - March 14 Coalition 71; March 8 Coalition 57; seats by coalition following 16 July 2012 byelection held to fill one seat - March 14 Coalition 72, March 8 Coalition 56

Judicial branch

highest court(s): Court of Cassation or Supreme Court (organized into 8 chambers, each with a presiding judge and 2 associate judges); Constitutional Council (consists of 10 members)
judge selection and term of office: Court of Cassation judges appointed by Supreme Judicial Council, a 10-member body headed by the chief justice, and includes other judicial officials; judge tenure NA; Constitutional Council members appointed - 5 by the Council of Ministers and 5 by parliament; members serve 5-year terms
subordinate courts: Courts of Appeal; Courts of First Instance; specialized tribunals, religious courts; military courts

Political parties and leaders

14 March Coalition: Future Movement Bloc [Sa'ad al-HARIRI]
Kata'ib Party [Sami GEMAYEL]
Lebanese Forces or LF [Samir JA'JA]
Marada Movement [Sulayman FRANJIEH]
Social Democrat Hunshaqian Party [Sebouh KELPAKIAN]
Hizballah-led bloc (formerly 8 March Coalition):
Amal Movement [Nabih BERRI]
Ba’th Arab Socialist Party of Lebanon [Fayez SHUKR]
Free Patriotic Movement or FPM [Gibran BASSIL]
Hizballah [Hassan NASRALLAH]
Islamic Actions Front [Sheikh Zuhair al-JU’AYD]
Marada Movement [Sulayman FRANJIEH]
Syrian Social Nationalist Party [Ali QANSO]
Tashnag or Armenian Revolutionary Federation [Hagop PAKRADOUNIAN]
Independent: Progressive Socialist Party or PSP [Walid JUNBLATT]

Political pressure groups and leaders

Grand Mufti of Lebanon [Sheikh Abdul Latif DERIAN]
Maronite Church [Patriarch Bishara al-RA'I]
note: most sects retain militias and a number of Sunni militant groups operate in Palestinian refugee camps

International organization participation


Diplomatic representation in the US

chief of mission: Ambassador (vacant); Charge d'Affaries Carla JAZZAR (since 28 January 2016)
chancery: 2560 28th Street NW, Washington, DC 20008
telephone: [1] (202) 939-6300
FAX: [1] (202) 939-6324
consulate(s) general: Detroit, New York, Los Angeles

Diplomatic representation from the US

chief of mission: Ambassador Elizabeth H. RICHARD (since May 2016)
embassy: Awkar, Lebanon (Awkar facing the Municipality)
mailing address: P. O. Box 70-840, Antelias, Lebanon; from US: US Embassy Beirut, 6070 Beirut Place, Washington, DC 20521-6070
telephone: [961] (4) 542600, 543600
FAX: [961] (4) 544136

Flag description

three horizontal bands consisting of red (top), white (middle, double width), and red (bottom) with a green cedar tree centered in the white band; the red bands symbolize blood shed for liberation, the white band denotes peace, the snow of the mountains, and purity; the green cedar tree is the symbol of Lebanon and represents eternity, steadiness, happiness, and prosperity

National symbol(s)

cedar tree; national colors: red, white, green

National anthem

name: "Kulluna lil-watan" (All Of Us, For Our Country!)
lyrics/music: Rachid NAKHLE/Wadih SABRA
note: adopted 1927; chosen following a nationwide competition


Economy - overview

Lebanon has a free-market economy and a strong laissez-faire commercial tradition. The government does not restrict foreign investment; however, the investment climate suffers from red tape, corruption, arbitrary licensing decisions, complex customs proce

The 1975-90 civil war seriously damaged Lebanon's economic infrastructure, cut national output by half, and derailed Lebanon's position as a Middle Eastern entrepot and banking hub. Following the civil war, Lebanon rebuilt much of its war-torn physical an

Spillover from the Syrian conflict, including the influx of more than 1.1 million registered Syrian refugees, has increased internal tension and slowed economic growth to the 1-2% range in 2011-16, after four years of averaging 8% growth. Syrian refugees

GDP (purchasing power parity)

$85.16 billion (2016 est.)
$84.32 billion (2015 est.)
$83.48 billion (2014 est.)
note: data are in 2016 dollars

GDP (official exchange rate)

$51.82 billion (2015 est.)

GDP - real growth rate

1% (2016 est.)
1% (2015 est.)
2% (2014 est.)

GDP - per capita (PPP)

$18,500 (2016 est.)
$18,500 (2015 est.)
$18,500 (2014 est.)
note: data are in 2016 dollars

Gross national saving

2% of GDP (2016 est.)
1.1% of GDP (2015 est.)
-1.6% of GDP (2014 est.)

GDP - composition, by end use

household consumption: 93.4%
government consumption: 13.7%
investment in fixed capital: 27.2%
investment in inventories: 0.6%
exports of goods and services: 20.2%
imports of goods and services: -55.1% (2016 est.)

GDP - composition, by sector of origin

agriculture: 5.7%
industry: 25%
services: 69.4% (2016 est.)

Agriculture - products

citrus, grapes, tomatoes, apples, vegetables, potatoes, olives, tobacco; sheep, goats


banking, tourism, food processing, wine, jewelry, cement, textiles, mineral and chemical products, wood and furniture products, oil refining, metal fabricating

Industrial production growth rate

1.4% (2016 est.)

Labor force

1.628 million
note: does not include as many as 1 million foreign workers, nor refugees (2013 est.)

Labor force - by occupation

agriculture: NA%
industry: NA%
services: NA%

Unemployment rate


Population below poverty line

28.6% (2004 est.)

Household income or consumption by percentage share

lowest 10%: NA%
highest 10%: NA%


revenues: $9.953 billion
expenditures: $14.44 billion (2016 est.)

Taxes and other revenues

19.2% of GDP (2016 est.)

Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-)

-8.7% of GDP (2016 est.)

Public debt

161.5% of GDP (2016 est.)
147.6% of GDP (2015 est.)
note: data cover central government debt, and exclude debt instruments issued (or owned) by government entities other than the treasury; the data include treasury debt held by foreign entities; the data include debt issued by subnational entities, as well as in

Fiscal year

calendar year

Inflation rate (consumer prices)

-1% (2016 est.)
-3.8% (2015 est.)

Central bank discount rate

3.5% (31 December 2010)
10% (31 December 2009)

Commercial bank prime lending rate

8.2% (31 December 2016 est.)
7.09% (31 December 2015 est.)

Stock of narrow money

$6.466 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$5.998 billion (31 December 2015 est.)

Stock of broad money

$55.48 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$52.15 billion (31 December 2015 est.)

Stock of domestic credit

$103.8 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$97.05 billion (31 December 2015 est.)

Market value of publicly traded shares

$11.22 billion (30 December 2014 est.)
$10.54 billion (30 December 2013 est.)
$10.42 billion (28 December 2012 est.)

Current account balance

-$10.56 billion (2016 est.)
-$10.65 billion (2015 est.)


$3.108 billion (2016 est.)
$3.551 billion (2015 est.)

Exports - commodities

jewelry, base metals, chemicals, consumer goods, fruit and vegetables, tobacco, construction minerals, electric power machinery and switchgear, textile fibers, paper

Exports - partners

Saudi Arabia 12.1%, UAE 10.6%, Iraq 7.6%, Syria 7.1%, South Africa 6.6% (2015)


$17.98 billion (2016 est.)
$16.71 billion (2015 est.)

Imports - commodities

petroleum products, cars, medicinal products, clothing, meat and live animals, consumer goods, paper, textile fabrics, tobacco, electrical machinery and equipment, chemicals

Imports - partners

China 11.5%, Italy 7.1%, Germany 6.8%, France 6%, US 5.7%, Russia 4.6%, Greece 4.4% (2015)

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold

$47.74 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$48.6 billion (31 December 2015 est.)

Debt - external

$40.74 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$37.08 billion (31 December 2015 est.)

Stock of direct foreign investment - at home


Stock of direct foreign investment - abroad


Exchange rates

Lebanese pounds (LBP) per US dollar -
1,507.5 (2016 est.)
1,507.5 (2015 est.)
1,507.5 (2014 est.)
1,507.5 (2013 est.)
1,507.5 (2012 est.)


Electricity - access

electrification - total population: 100% (2016)

Electricity - production

18 billion kWh (2014 est.)

Electricity - consumption

16 billion kWh (2014 est.)

Electricity - exports

0 kWh (2013 est.)

Electricity - imports

100 million kWh (2014 est.)

Electricity - installed generating capacity

2.3 million kW (2014 est.)

Electricity - from fossil fuels

90.2% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)

Electricity - from nuclear fuels

0% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)

Electricity - from hydroelectric plants

9.8% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)

Electricity - from other renewable sources

0% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)

Crude oil - production

0 bbl/day (2015 est.)

Crude oil - exports

0 bbl/day (2013 est.)

Crude oil - imports

0 bbl/day (2013 est.)

Crude oil - proved reserves

0 bbl (1 January 2016 es)

Refined petroleum products - production

0 bbl/day (2013 est.)

Refined petroleum products - consumption

143,000 bbl/day (2014 est.)

Refined petroleum products - exports

0 bbl/day (2013 est.)

Refined petroleum products - imports

139,900 bbl/day (2013 est.)

Natural gas - production

0 cu m (2013 est.)

Natural gas - consumption

150.1 million cu m (2010 est.)

Natural gas - exports

0 cu m (2013 est.)

Natural gas - imports

150.1 million cu m (2010 est.)

Natural gas - proved reserves

0 cu m (1 January 2014 es)

Carbon dioxide emissions from consumption of energy

16 million Mt (2013 est.)


Telephones - fixed lines

total subscriptions: 970,000
subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 16 (July 2015 est.)

Telephones - mobile cellular

total: 4.4 million
subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 71 (July 2015 est.)

Telephone system

general assessment: repair of the telecommunications system, severely damaged during the civil war, now complete
domestic: two mobile-cellular networks provide good service; combined fixed-line and mobile-cellular subscribership almost 90 per 100 persons
international: country code - 961; submarine cable links to Cyprus, Egypt, and Syria; satellite earth stations - 2 Intelsat (1 Indian Ocean and 1 Atlantic Ocean); coaxial cable to Syria (2015)

Broadcast media

7 TV stations, 1 of which is state owned; more than 30 radio stations, 1 of which is state owned; satellite and cable TV services available; transmissions of at least 2 international broadcasters are accessible through partner stations (2007)

Internet country code


Internet users

total: 4.577 million
percent of population: 74% (July 2015 est.)


National air transport system

number of registered air carriers: 2
inventory of registered aircraft operated by air carriers: 21
annual passenger traffic on registered air carriers: 2,583,274
annual freight traffic on registered air carriers: 53,902,026 mt-km (2015)

Civil aircraft registration country code prefix

OD (2016)


8 (2013)

Airports - with paved runways

total: 5
over 3,047 m: 1
2,438 to 3,047 m: 2
1,524 to 2,437 m: 1
under 914 m: 1 (2013)

Airports - with unpaved runways

total: 3
914 to 1,523 m: 2
under 914 m: 1 (2013)


1 (2013)


gas 88 km (2013)


total: 401 km
standard gauge: 319 km 1.435-m gauge
narrow gauge: 82 km 1.050-m gauge
note: rail system unusable due to damage sustained from fighting in the 1980s and in 2006 (2008)


total: 6,970 km (includes 170 km of expressways) (2005)

Merchant marine

total: 29
by type: bulk carrier 4, cargo 7, carrier 17, vehicle carrier 1
foreign-owned: 2 (Syria 2)
registered in other countries: 34 (Barbados 2, Cambodia 5, Comoros 2, Egypt 1, Georgia 1, Honduras 2, Liberia 1, Malta 6, Moldova 1, Panama 2, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines 2, Sierra Leone 2, Togo 6, unknown 1) (2010)

Ports and terminals

major seaport(s): Beirut, Tripoli
container port(s) (TEUs): Beirut (1,034,249)


Military branches

Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF): Lebanese Army ((Al Jaysh al Lubnani) includes Lebanese Navy (Al Quwwat al Bahiriyya al Lubnaniya), Lebanese Air Force (Al Quwwat al Jawwiya al Lubnaniya)) (2013)

Military service age and obligation

17-30 years of age for voluntary military service; 18-24 years of age for officer candidates; no conscription (2013)

Military expenditures

4.04% of GDP (2012)
4.06% of GDP (2011)
4.04% of GDP (2010)

Transnational Issues

Disputes - international

lacking a treaty or other documentation describing the boundary, portions of the Lebanon-Syria boundary are unclear with several sections in dispute; since 2000, Lebanon has claimed Shab'a Farms area in the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights; the roughly 2,000-strong UN Interim Force in Lebanon has been in place since 1978

Refugees and internally displaced persons

refugees (country of origin): 452,669 (Palestinian refugees); 7,234 (Iraq) (2015); 1,033,513 (Syria) (2016)
IDPs: 12,000 (2007 Lebanese security forces' destruction of Palestinian refugee camp) (2015)
stateless persons: undetermined (2014); note - tens of thousands of persons are stateless in Lebanon, including many Palestinian refugees and their descendants, Syrian Kurds denaturalized in Syria in 1962, children born to Lebanese women married to foreign or stateless men; most babies born to Syrian refugees, and Lebanese children whose births are unregistered

Trafficking in persons

current situation: Lebanon is a source and destination country for women and children subjected to forced labor and sex trafficking and a transit point for Eastern European women and children subjected to sex trafficking in other Middle Eastern countries; women and girls from South and Southeast Asia and an increasing number from East and West Africa are recruited by agencies to work in domestic service but are subject to conditions of forced labor; under Lebanon’s artiste visa program, women from Eastern Europe, North Africa, and the Dominican Republic enter Lebanon to work in the adult entertainment industry but are often forced into the sex trade; Lebanese children are reportedly forced into street begging and commercial sexual exploitation, with small numbers of Lebanese girls sex trafficked in other Arab countries; Syrian refugees are vulnerable to forced labor and prostitution
tier rating: Tier 2 Watch List – Lebanon does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so; in 2014, Lebanon was granted a waiver from an otherwise required downgrade to Tier 3 because its government has a written plan that, if implemented would constitute making significant efforts to bring itself into compliance with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; law enforcement efforts in 2014 were uneven; the number of convicted traffickers increased, but judges lack of familiarity with anti-trafficking law meant that many offenders were not brought to justice; the government relied heavily on an NGO to identify and provide service to trafficking victims; and its lack of thoroughly implemented victim identification procedures resulted in victims continuing to be arrested, detained, and deported for crimes committed as a direct result of being trafficked (2015)

Illicit drugs

cannabis cultivation dramatically reduced to 2,500 hectares in 2002 despite continued significant cannabis consumption; opium poppy cultivation minimal; small amounts of Latin American cocaine and Southwest Asian heroin transit country on way to European markets and for Middle Eastern consumption; money laundering of drug proceeds fuels concern that extremists are benefiting from drug trafficking